Losing a loved one is an incredibly difficult process for anyone to have to go through. Losing a loved one whilst they were serving in the armed forces comes with its own particular challenges which can complicate the grieving process.
If you have suffered a bereavement there are a number of charities which offer support specifically for military families:
Where to turn to for support when a service person or veteran dies
There is a lot of guidance available about what steps you should take when a service person or veteran dies, which can all be found on the government’s website.
Tell Us Once is a service that lets you report a death to most government organisations in one go, which can you do using the link above. You will also find details about who you need to notify of a veteran’s death.
The Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC) manages and co-ordinate practical needs following the death of a person in service. More information about their role can be found on their website. You will be assigned a Visiting Officer who will contact you within a few days of the death, and will be able to explain what steps need to be taken.
It can be very overwhelming to deal with all of the practical considerations so it is important to get practical help and support, which is available through Veterans Welfare Service and Veterans’ Gateway.
If you are living in service accommodation then you may be able to stay there for up to two years depending on your circumstances. You should speak to your Visiting Officer about this and if you need advice on your housing options then you should contact the Joint Service Housing Advice Office.
There are specific benefits which will be paid when your loved one’s death has happened whilst they were still serving, or within 7 years of their service ending:
Survivor’s Guaranteed Income Payment (SGIP)
SGIP is paid monthly for life to an eligible partner- that is someone who was in a relationship with the deceased and who was financially dependent or interdependent on the deceased.
Child payments is a monthly income paid to the deceased’s child, adopted child or any other child who was financially dependent on them and under 18 at the time of death.
A Bereavement Grant is payable as a tax free lump sum to an eligible partner or children.
How do I make a claim?
In the event of a death in service your family will be supported by Visiting Officers and Veterans Welfare Service Managers. Veterans UK will automatically consider if any benefits are payable.
You will be able to find more information here.
Pension – Dependant’s Benefits
In the event of a death in service, and provided you meet the eligibility criteria (2 years of qualifying service), your spouse, civil partner or eligible partner will receive an immediate pension paid for life and a tax-free lump sum.
If you leave the armed forces with a deferred pension and die before this starts being paid your spouse, civil partner or eligible partner will receive an immediate pension paid for life and a tax-free lump sum.
You can find more information about the MoD’s pension schemes here and for advice you should contact Veterans UK.
Helping with the costs of education
There may be funding available for higher education through the Armed Forces Bereavement Scholarship Scheme.
The Armed Forces Education Trust provides grants, which families may be eligible to apply for.
You can find more information about applying for and funding higher education courses here.